Connection. A deeper connection to your work will become increasingly more important in a world that values purposeful work and companies. The why behind the work you do will help fuel how you work every day, especially during challenging times. When employees feel aligned by a common mission with their employer, their engagement, productivity and creativity will directly reflect that.
There have been major disruptions in recent years that promise to change the very nature of work. From the ongoing shifts caused by the COVID19 pandemic, the impacts caused by automation, and other possible disruptions to the status quo, many wonder what the future holds in terms of employment. For example, a report by the McKinsey Global Institute that estimated automation will eliminate 73 million jobs by 2030.
To address this open question, we reached out to successful leaders in business, government, and labor, as well as thought leaders about the future of work to glean their insights and predictions on the future of work and the workplace.
As a part of this interview series called “Preparing For The Future Of Work”, we had the pleasure to interview Michelle Enjoli Beato.
Michelle Enjoli is a bilingual international speaker and career development coach who teaches strategies on how to successfully connect to career opportunities for career growth. She was a first-generation college student who landed her dream job in college as a television producer. She has worked and developed content for global brands in television broadcasting and marketing like Univision, Telemundo, ABC, NBC and CBS, Mercedes-Benz USA, and Delta Air Lines. In 2016, she created the first all-inclusive business resource group at Mercedes-Benz USA to connect leaders and professionals with each other for growth and development. She has since developed a curriculum focused on networking, personal branding, and self-esteem that helps professionals and leaders learn how to connect for professional growth. Michelle has an idea worth sharing and will become a speaker at Southampton, England’s inaugural TEDx event this year. Her journey and work have been featured in Rolling Stone, Entrepreneur, Forbes, glassdoor, and Telemundo among other news outlets. She is featured in the book called “Hispanic Stars Rising. The New Face of Power” and is currently working on her first book.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers like to get an idea of who you are and where you came from. Can you tell us a bit about your background? Where do you come from? What are the life experiences that most shaped your current self?
I was born and raised in New Jersey to a bilingual Hispanic family in a town close to NYC. One of the greatest memories of my childhood was growing up in a diverse community with so many friends and family nearby. Some of the life experiences that have shaped me today were the exposure I received growing up to different people and places. My curiosity and love of stories and people is what led me to pursue the career opportunities I have.
What do you expect to be the major disruptions for employers in the next 10–15 years? How should employers pivot to adapt to these disruptions?
Some major disruptions I see in the next 10–15 years will be how, why and where people will work. The world is changing at such a rapid pace and I see digital evolutions, automation, faster ways to upskill and the need for purposeful work disrupting traditional work environments. Employers must begin to pivot if they want to be successful. Some pivots they should start considering should be accommodating flexibility for their employees, providing career development opportunities internally and focusing on a great employee experience.
The choice as to whether or not a young person should pursue a college degree was once a “no-brainer”. But with the existence of many high-profile millionaires (and billionaires) who did not earn degrees, as well as the fact that many graduates are saddled with crushing student loan debt and unable to find jobs it has become a much more complex question. What advice would you give to young adults considering whether or not to go to college?
I suggest young adults start seriously thinking about their career aspirations earlier to determine what the best education options are for them. We currently have a variety of programs that people can choose from depending on the profession they choose to pursue. It’s an individual choice that should reflect their goals.
Despite the doom and gloom predictions, there are, and likely still will be, jobs available. How do you see job seekers having to change their approaches to finding not only employment but employment that fits their talents and interests?
I believe that individuals should never stop exploring career options regardless of where they are in the process. Statistics show that about 85% of jobs are filled via networking. This indicates that traditional methods of seeking and applying for desirable jobs when needed don’t work as well. Networking should be the primary way to learn and search for new opportunities. The network you build and maintain will be what will help you obtain the job you want.
The statistics of artificial intelligence and automation eliminating millions of jobs, appear frightening to some. For example, Walmart aims to eliminate cashiers altogether and Dominos is instituting pizza delivery via driverless vehicles. How should people plan their careers such that they can hedge their bets against being replaced by automation or robots?
I believe that every individual should consistently position themselves to learn more in case a career change or pivot is needed. Unlike years past where the expectation to be in a specific industry or job for a long time was the norm, that is no longer the case due to changes in the business environment. I think people need to take an active role in developing themselves professionally so that they have more career options.
Technological advances and pandemic restrictions hastened the move to working from home. Do you see this trend continuing? Why or why not?
Absolutely! Working from home proved to be just as efficient if not more for many who could do their jobs remotely. Companies have an opportunity to save money with reduced in office costs while making employees happier with this option. It’s a win on both ends.
What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support the fundamental changes to work?
A societal change I see as necessary to support the fundamental changes to work is a change in human interactions and relationships. There isn’t a firm line between your work and home life anymore and therefore a different approach needs to be taken in order for people to feel comfortable interacting and working in ways they feel most comfortable.
What changes do you think will be the most difficult for employers to accept?
I don’t believe there are any specific changes that will be difficult for employers to accept in general. I think that the rate of difficulty in accepting certain changes will depend on the type of employer. There are companies that have been in operation for a long time where certain changes might take longer to process and implement. You also have companies who have not been in business as long and have built-in room for change at a quicker rate. The level of change an employer is willing to accept will depend on how it benefits them. Smart companies will accept the changes that mutually benefit them and their employees.
What changes do you think will be the most difficult for employees to accept?
Similar to my answer above, I don’t believe there are any changes that will be difficult to accept for all employees. I think it depends on the individual employee and the change. For those employees who have been working a long time, change might seem a bit harder to accept while employees with less experience might accept change easier.
The COVID-19 pandemic helped highlight the inadequate social safety net that many workers at all pay levels have. Is this something that you think should be addressed? In your opinion how should this be addressed?
It is definitely a topic that needs to be addressed. I recommend using the inadequate social safety net that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted as a starting point to begin discussing solutions.
Despite all that we have said earlier, what is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?
I believe the future of work is limitless. There is so much opportunity to experiment and continue to come up with new ideas to change the way we work in a way that’s mutually beneficial for both companies and employees.
Historically, major disruptions to the status quo in employment, particularly disruptions that result in fewer jobs, are temporary with new jobs replacing the jobs lost. Unfortunately, there has often been a gap between the job losses and the growth of new jobs. What do you think we can do to reduce the length of this gap?
I think that as individuals who are working in an era where change is the norm, it is our responsibility to consistently grow ourselves as professionals. Just as the economy and job market will never stand still, we shouldn’t either. Continuous investments in our career development is necessary in order to be able to change or pivot as necessary due to job loss or disruptions.
Okay, wonderful. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Watch In the Future of Work?” (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Flexibility. The rise in the desirability and availability of hybrid work schedules and remote work is going to continue to rise. With major companies providing this option to their employees, you will see others follow suit in the competition for talent.
- Focus on Mental Health. Mental health is a conversation no longer reserved for your personal life as we see our personal and professional lives continue to merge. The need to maintain separate identities and personalities is a thing of the past. We must own who we are and exhibit that regardless of where we are. If changes are needed, help will be readily available.
- Leaner Levels of Leadership. I predict a decrease in the levels of leadership in organizations. With the need for transparent communication, faster turnaround times for change, and the need for innovation and creativity in problem-solving, a stronger relationship will be needed between the top and lower levels of organizations.
- Constant Upskilling. The need for consistent career development is essential and not the sole responsibility of an employer. Employees must become proactive in developing themselves both internally and externally in an organization. Those who prioritize this development will be awarded more opportunities.
- Connection. A deeper connection to your work will become increasingly more important in a world that values purposeful work and companies. The why behind the work you do will help fuel how you work every day, especially during challenging times. When employees feel aligned by a common mission with their employer, their engagement, productivity and creativity will directly reflect that.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how this quote has shaped your perspective?
My favorite life lesson quote is one I wrote that states the following: “Success is personal and relative so don’t define yours by theirs.” This is a quote I’ve lived by my entire life. I was thankfully blessed with an independent spirit since birth. I have never felt the need to compare my life with others, base my decisions on others nor have I ever wanted what someone else has. I’ve always understood that what makes me happy and fulfilled was independence to me and no one else.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
I would love to have a conversation with Gary Vaynerchuk. We both come from New Jersey, are the children of immigrant parents, and have very similar perspectives on what success means and how to accomplish it. I love the unfiltered and simple messages he is communicating to the world.
Our readers often like to follow our interview subjects’ careers. How can they further follow your work online?
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.